The villagers are marching with their torches and pitchforks. Big tech companies are in trouble.
The government is coming to regulate them.
Someone leaked a draft of an executive order from President Trump. It calls on various agencies to use all current laws to look into possible anticompetitive practices by Facebook and Google.
In fact, the EU already fined Google $5 billion in July for "abusing the market dominance of Android." And now they've set their sights on how Amazon uses customer and seller data.
Elizabeth Warren wants to force Amazon to choose between providing a platform for sellers and selling goods. Echoing European Union regulators, she says Amazon has an unfair advantage by competing against the same sellers it collects information from on its platform.
Governments use antitrust laws to break up businesses that resemble monopolies. The government can call just about anything an "anticompetitive" practice. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 gives the US government sweeping powers to regulate almost any business behavior.
And there's plenty to choose from:
Google gets the vast majority of search engine users.
Facebook is the go-to social media website.
Together, Google ads and Facebook ads capture 90% of new advertising spending. They get 71% of all ad dollars in Europe.
The left says Facebook's lax data policies helped win Trump the election. The right claims Facebook targets conservatives for censorship.
Google favors it's own results, and censors certain news.
But much of the criticism misses the mark.
A Bloomberg article called Tech Giants Spend $80 Billion to Make Sure No One Else Can Compete, offers a perfect example of misplaced criticism:
How can a company hope to compete with Google's driverless cars when it spends $20 billion a year to ensure it has the best laser-guided sensors and computer chips?
Wait… so Google ensures it's self-driving cars have the best laser guided sensors and computer chips that money can buy. And that is a bad thing?
Would it be better if the technology was poorly made, but other, inferior companies with worse technology could compete? Sure maybe the death rate for the first fleet of driver-less vehicles is huge, but at least smaller companies could compete!
The alternative is that Google spends all the money developing the best technology. And then other companies copy them.
If Google has a patent or intellectual property that protects their tech, that means government is enforcing, not stopping, their monopoly.
Another example we've discussed is Bernie Sanders' Stop BEZOS Act. This bill would tax companies to cover the cost of any of there workers who receive welfare. It basically blames successful companies for the circumstances of their workers, regardless of whether those workers are full time, or have skills needed for higher pay.
The government does not address the real problems with Amazon and Bezos, like the $600 million per year CIA contract or surveillance technology sold to law enforcement like Palantir and Rekognition.
We all know Google can track everything we do with their technology. In China, we can see that kind of data put to sinister use. Google helps the Chinese government censor web results. And their data will undoubtedly factor into Chinese citizens' "Social Credit Scores."
These are scores assigned by the Chinese government for things like patriotism and civic responsibility. These scores can be affected by online behavior, as well as reviews from neighbors, friends… or enemies. And a bad score means being banned from living in certain places, working certain jobs, and traveling on public transportation.